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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: August 15, 2012, 12:15:16 PM »
If anybody as any insight they can toss my way, I would greatly appreciate it.
Maintain your grades and boost them if possible (Legend's advice here is very good), but make the LSAT your singular focus. In your case I really think the LSAT will be the dispositive factor. A high LSAT can overcome a low GPA, but not the other way around. If you can score high , you'll be a splitter (like I was), and soft factors like an addendum or letter of recommendation may be taken into account. However, if you have a lower LSAT score, you'll probably be auto-rejected and those things won't even get read.
Do everything you can to max out that score. Start seriously studying now, take timed practice exams, and take the time to understand why you got certain answers right or wrong. The LSAT is a standardized test, and you can definitely improve your score by understanding what the testmakers are looking for. The more you practice, the more you'll see predictable patterns and you'll be able to anticipate the answer.
Lastly, if you are confronted with the choice of going to a local (CA, AZ, NV) T3-T4 vs. an out-of the-region T2, don't make your decision based on rankings alone. A student at Phoenix or Whittier, for example, might very well have better internship/clerkship opportunities in Las Vegas than a student from Syracuse who has to fly across the country to compete with local talent.
« on: August 14, 2012, 07:41:02 PM »
Without an LSAT score it's nearly impossible to handicap your chances at a given school. Law school admissions is a numbers game, and your GPA/LSAT profile will pretty much determine where you'll get win. Factors like work experience, grade trend and distribution, biographical factors, etc are all "soft" factors. They will only come into play if you are on the borderline of admit/not admit, if at all. The vast majority of applicants are simply admitted based on numbers.
Assuming that you can raise your GPA to 2.75 (3.0 seems like a stretch with only three semesters left), I think you'd need something like a 160-165 to have a good shot at UNLV/Marquette/Syracuse, and 155-160 (maybe even lower) for Nova. Although UC Irvine is new, it's admissions criteria are high. You'd probably have to score 170+, and even then your GPA might keep you out.
If you haven't taken the LSAT yet, start preparing now. A high score will not only give you a better shot at admission, but may even get you some scholarships. Even with a low GPA an LSAT of around 165 would probably get you some scholarship offers at T3-T4s. Something to consider if you have a family.
One last thing:
if you want to practice in LV, look at local schools. Going to school in Milwaukee or Florida is not conducive to obtaining internships in LV, or making connections that will help you land a job after law school. The job market is tight, and you'll need to gain some experience in the area in which you intend to practice. It's much easier to obtain that kind of experience if you're already in the region. Along with UNLV, you might want to check out Arizona, Utah, and California schools too.
« on: August 13, 2012, 12:14:43 PM »
I basically post poned the test to this October, I'm studying foreals now and am getting about 155 avg, I'll post when I take it! I figure I can't get into a halfway competent school without at least a 155-160, so anything below 155 is failure.
Define "competent". The fact is, legal education has been standardized to such degree that the education you receive at School X will be nearly identical to that which you will receive at School Y. You'll take the same classes, study the same cases, and take very similar exams at just about every law school in the nation. That's one of the main purposes of ABA accreditation, to create predictable, standardized legal education.
Also consider this: apart from a few truly elite national schools (Harvard, Yale, etc), pretty much all other law schools have local reputations. The subtle differences in rankings between say,the #103 and the #132 schools will likely not make much difference in your career options. Getting a 160 will not vault you into the elite category anyway, and getting below 155 will not prevent you from getting into many smaller local schools. My point is, don't consider yourself a failure if you score below a specific number. Whether you get a 154 or a 159, your going to a non-elite school regardless, where you will receive a "competent" education.
« on: August 10, 2012, 01:19:46 PM »
Is it possible to attend law school part-time and work during the day? I know that UIUC doesn't have an evening option, but several other ILL law schools do. I went to law school part-time with a wife and kids, and it's difficult, but it can be done. I still managed to graduate with a relatively high class rank, did internships, etc. You need discipline and stamina, which as a 22 year army vet I'm sure you have.
As far as paid internships, good luck. You may be able to score one, but they're few and far between. If you really need to make money, either work and attend at night or take out loans. Personally, considering the state of the job market, I'd look at the part-time option before accruing debt.
Lastly, can you obtain cheap insurance from the VA or from your wife's job? I was under the impression that teachers were eligible for family coverage at low rates. If you have any specific questions about attending law school with a family, feel free to post here or PM me.
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:59:12 PM »
Additional question. I am teaching a college political science class this fall. How douchey, on a scale of one to ten, would it be to ask them to call me Doctor?
I don't really want the freshmen to call me by my first name, and "Mr _____" seems odd to me. Perhaps i'll go with "professor."
I'd say about a five, not terrible but moderately douchey. Frankly, I find the notion of a lawyer asking to be called "Doctor" more legit than people with "Ph.Ds" in management or education from some bull$*** degree mill who insist
on being called "Doctor".
In many countries (much of Latin America, Germany, Netherlands, etc) lawyers are commonly referred to as "Doctor". The J.D. is a professional doctorate (like an MD, DDS, Pharm.D, etc.), as opposed to a research based doctorate (Ph.D, D.Phil). All other holders of professional doctorates in the U.S. are called doctor. Some of those degrees (Ed.D and D.M., for example) are way easier to obtain than a J.D., and certainly don't involve anything like the bar exam. People used to get an LL.B (bachelor of laws) until I think 60 or 70 years ago, and the J.D. was ushered in to give the profession more respectability. There really is no reason why a lawyer in the U.S. can't be called doctor, but it's just not part of our legal history and culture.
In Europe and Latin America law has always been associated with a university education, and thus the upper class. Those people tend to be very status-conscious, and like titles. Here, people used to do it Abraham Lincoln-style, and the formalized university-based legal education is comparatively new. I think that accounts for part of the unwritten rule that lawyers should not insist on being called doctor.
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:34:00 PM »
Are you within commuting distance of a Calbar or ABA school? If you can go to night school while continuing to work it might be worth it. I did it, and it's a grind, but it can be done. The cost is much higher, of course. As far as having to accept any legal job at all, the fact is whether you go to an ABA, CBE, or unaccredited school you may have to spend a few years at crappy jobs building up experience.
Good luck with whatever you decide , let us know happens.
« on: August 02, 2012, 11:20:42 AM »
Yeah, the RAP is great example of how law professors can waste inordinate amounts of your time and money. CA has statutorily modified the common law RAP, and yet in both Property and Wills & Trusts we spent endless hours dealing with validating lives and pregnant octogenarians. On the CA bar there were maybe 2 or 3 MBEs that dealt with it, and nothing in the essays. Absurd.
Are most of the people who attend online/correspondance doing so for reasons of geographic isolation, like you were? Or are most just not able to attend a brick and mortar school due to work schedules? It makes sense that if you live in, say, Reno, your options are online or nothing. I'd do it, too, if it were the only option. If other states would open their doors to unaccredited grads I think you'd see better bar pass rates from these schools. The fact that they're limited to CA is a huge impediment.
« on: August 01, 2012, 11:06:19 PM »
Honestly, I can't imagine. It must be incredibly difficult. Even sitting through classes, getting called on, and studying with friends I still found certain concepts difficult to grasp (the Rule Against Perpetuities still baffles me). That's why I have huge respect for the people who make it through and pass the Ca bar, they must be very disciplined, motivated, and smart.
So, if 20% pass the FYLSX, and another 30-50% of those folks pass the bar, you're looking at 6-10% of those who start actually finishing the process. Pretty sobering odds.
« on: August 01, 2012, 08:42:51 PM »
I've met attorneys who have told me that they found the FYLSX to be really tough, but I just looked at some past exam questions and they seemed pretty straightforward. You definitely need to know your stuff and to be prepared, but it seems doable. My law school finals in contracts, torts, and crimlaw were considerably more complex and lengthy than anything I saw on the FYLSX essays. Not to mention the fact that law school exams are typically three hours per topic, as opposed to one hour per topic on the baby bar.
Why is the pass rate so low? Frankly, it probably has to do with the academic capabilities of the average test taker. I went to a lower tier ABA school, and we had some students who clearly should not have been in law school. They did not possess the skills or drive to learn voluminous amounts of information and then to effectively apply those rules to a complex fact pattern. The people who squeeked in with low GPAs and low LSATs often failed out. I imagine (and maybe I'm wrong!) that unaccredited schools attract a larger number of these types of students, ie; those who didn't get accepted anywhere else.
I don't mean to paint all students at unaccredited law schools with a broad brush, I know that there are success stories, and I know that some very smart people have graduated from such schools. However, it seems to be the most obvious reason.
« on: July 31, 2012, 01:37:34 AM »
I didn't know that a school could deny you access to federal student loans, I thought that was up to the federal govt? Is your school saying that because you fell below the minimum credits you can't qualify? I seem to remember that my law school required that you be enrolled in at least 9 units, even for parttime.
As far as transferring, unless something changes you're likely to have the same problem at another school that you have at your current school: not enough time. Trust me, I know how it is. Any school you seek to transfer to is probably going to have a minimum credit requirement, and you're back at square one unless you can make some kind of change in your schedule.
I'm not sure where you're located and which school you attend, but even making a lateral transfer (transferring to a school of the same general ranking as your current school) is probably going to be tough with a 2.0. Were you on academic probation at some point? I'm assuming that if your cumulative GPA is 2.0, then you must have had several grades below passing. That will all make transferring very tough.
Another option is to take a leave of absence while you figure out how to manage your schedule, then return to your current school. If you can enroll for the required number of units you should be able to get federal loans again.
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